How to start a moving business on a shoestring budget


You want to start a moving business but don’t have a lot of money. Well, who said you needed tens of thousands of dollars?

Many folks you see out there moving office and residential items didn’t start with so much. In fact, if you listen to their stories, you will wonder why you haven’t started the business yet.

Anyways, it’s never too late to start. This post contains some actionable tips on how you can begin a moving business on a shoestring budget. Please read until the end to realize your dream today.

How to start a moving business on a shoestring budget

1.   Pick an angle that aligns with your pocket

The term ‘moving business’ encompasses a lot. To get started with yours, you need to first define the type of moving business you have in mind.

Is it residential or commercial? Or both? Are you starting on a small or medium scale? Do you intend to do everything alone, or do you plan to hire a small staff?

Your answers to these questions will determine the type of budget you have to bring to the table. For example, if you want to DIY the process with family members – i.e., load, unload label items, drive, etc. You will definitely need a lesser budget than someone who intends to hire a staff.

2.   Purchase used or cheap transportation vehicles

Moving trucks are at the heart of any moving business. Since you’re on a tight budget, you want to explore pocket-friendly options like renting a truck or buying used ones.

It makes sense to rent a truck or a van if you expect to get a low demand in the early days of the business. However, if you think there’s a strong market for your service and offers are likely to come regularly, it makes sense to get your own truck. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a new truck. You can buy a used mini truck for a start. If you buy from a dealership like, you can find well-maintained used mini trucks for as low as $3k or less.

3.   Buy used moving equipment

Besides the truck, you’ll need other equipment like moving dollies, gloves, safety equipment,  ropes, furniture belts, moving pads, trolleys, moving boxes, etc.

Since you’re operating on a tight budget, you should do your diligence to find outlets offering the best deals. You can shop online, shop with promo codes, or hunt for garage sale deals. Whatever you do, just make sure you spend the least possible amount on moving items.

4.   Get your transport permit

Besides your driver’s license, you’ll also need a trucking permit. The Department of Transportation handles this aspect in many countries.

You need to register your business with the US Department of Transportation if you’re operating in the US. Once you do, you will receive a unique US DOT number for your company.

It costs around $300 to file for this registration.

5.   Get affordable insurance

When running a moving business, you’ll need coverage for your vehicle and the cargo you’re handling. This is to protect you in the event of accidents or item damage.

Many insurance companies have various policies that cater to moving businesses and their liabilities. Speak with your insurer for the best pocket-friendly policy your money can buy.

Being on a tight budget, you have to consider the overall costs of insuring the business from the beginning to avoid shelling out too much on insurance premiums.

6.   Go digital on marketing

With a tight budget, you may not be able to afford radio jingles, TV adverts, or celebrity validation.

However, you can still leverage SEO, cross-promotion, local events, and social media marketing to get the word out about your business.

With SEO, you can get started with Google My Business (GMB). It’s completely free to launch a GMB page. That will expose your business to people looking for a moving company around you.

With cross-promotion, you simply need to partner with businesses with similar audiences. E.g., Cleaning Services, Construction Companies, Mortgage Companies, realtors, etc. Imagine someone buying a new home; chances are they will need a moving company to help them move into the place. If you have a good relationship with the realtor or mortgage company that facilitated the purchase, they can put in a good word for your business with the homeowner.

As for local events, you simply need to attend and make your presence felt. This will announce your existence to the public and register your brand name in people’s minds.

Finally, social media marketing involves leveraging Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others to spread the word about your business.


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